Truffles: What are They, and why are truffles so expensive ?
Truffles have a taste that is once eaten and never forgotten. However, trying these tiny delicacies is more difficult than you may imagine due to the high price. But what are truffles, and why are they so expensive?
What are truffles?
Truffles are an edible fungus that are considered a delicacy. They will often be served in small amounts at expensive restaurants, where the umami taste enhances a dish. Truffles are small and lumpy, with either a dark skin or lighter coloring. If you’re thinking of trying truffle for the first time, it’s incredibly important to know how different they are to chocolate truffles. Chocolate truffles are named because of their physical resemblance to the mushroom, but that’s where the similarity stops. In terms of flavor, they are nothing alike. Unlike other types of edible mushrooms, truffles grow underground. They’re found near tree roots, and form a symbiotic relationship with the tree. Truffles enjoy very specific growing conditions, preferring well-drained alkaline soil. There are two main types of truffle: white truffle and black truffle. Black truffles are slightly more pungent, and are cooked into dishes. White truffles are highly aromatic, and can be eaten raw. Truffles have a short shelf life, so they can’t be kept in storage for long. Many choose to cook with truffle oil, which infuses the truffle flavor without the high cost of truffle. (Although truffle oil can still be expensive).
why truffles are so expensive ?
The flavor of truffle is entirely unique, and for many it’s completely worth the expense. Umami and earthy, with hints of garlic and an underlying nuttiness, truffle is a flavor experience like no other. As a fungus, they have the same deep earth taste of mushroom, but this can’t begin to cover what makes truffle so delectable. One of the greatest dimensions of a truffle is the aroma. The scent of freshly shaved truffle lifts off the plate, creating a rounded sensory experience. Encompassed in the smell is rich earth and oak. Truffles smell like a damp fall day, but in the best way possible. On the tongue, truffle has a gamy, meaty richness. There is a sweetness that’s offset by the savory edge, that combines with the deep umami flavoring for a rounded taste. They can be cooked for a subtler flavor, or eaten raw for a more intense hit. Of course, not everyone will like the taste of truffle. They’re undoubtedly a mushroom, and the fungus taste is one of the clearest notes. The strong aroma puts many off as well, although for some it’s the greatest part.
Why are truffles expensive? (and are they worth the cost?)
Pound for pound, truffles are one of the most expensive foods in the world. This is due to how difficult they are to grow, how complex they are to find, and the difficulties involved in storage. Harvesting truffles isn’t an easy task, which is part of the reason they cost so much. Looking at a truffle, it’s difficult to see what makes them desirable. They’re not the most attractive of mushrooms, Truffles come from underground, and they look like it. However, the appearance is one of the reasons they’re so expensive. Because they’re so well hidden, truffles are very difficult to find. The naked human eye is unlikely to spot a truffle. For this reason, they need to be sniffed out. Traditionally, pigs are used to smell and locate truffles underground.
Unfortunately, this comes with a major downfall: the pigs are liable to eat the truffles. Nowadays, dogs are often trained to pick up the scent, and they won’t eat the goods. Once truffles have been located, they need to be carefully dug up, to avoid being damaged. This is all a time-consuming process. Finding truffles is especially difficult because they’re hard to grow. Truffles are choosy about their conditions, preferring mild weather and well drained soil.
They also have preferred trees to grow under, typically oak, pine, and hazel, and can take up to 7 years to be ready for harvest. Even then, the harvesting season is short. Once the truffles have been located and removed, they need to be sold quickly. They have an incredibly short shelf life, only lasting around 1 to 2 weeks when kept in optimal conditions. Farmers are trying to cultivate truffles, but due to their temperamental nature it can prove tricky. All this leads to the incredibly high price that truffles can fetch. Difficult to find and impossible to store, truffles are only good for a short period of time.
For those who love the flavor, the expense is definitely worth it. This demand is what drives the cost up. If you don’t enjoy the taste, then you may never understand why people pay so much for something so smelly.
What is the difference between white truffles and black truffles?
There are two distinct types of truffles: white truffles and black truffles. Black truffles have a lighter, earthy taste that mixes well in sauces. White truffles are more aromatic, and are often enjoyed raw. White truffles are the most desired truffle, and they have a price tag to match. The very best white truffles are found in Italy, generally in the Piedmont region. In La Marche, in North Eastern Italy, the fungus is so widely celebrated they hold an annual truffle festival. They grow elsewhere in Central Italy, and have also been found growing in nearby Croatia. White truffles are aromatic, and this is what makes them prized. Unfortunately, the harvest season is very short, only running from December to the end of January. Black truffles, while still expensive, are the cheaper of the two. The very best black truffles are found in France, particularly in the South West region. They’re particularly fond of the oak trees in Perigord. Black truffles have a slightly longer harvest season, from September to December, and a longer shelf life.
However, they still need very specific conditions to grow. Black truffles have a subtler taste, which makes them especially good when cooked into sauces. Other varieties of truffle exist, but the white truffles of Italy and the black truffles of France are the most popular. These have the richest flavoring, which is why they’re so loved despite the difficult growing conditions.
Truffle oil is made by placing shaved pieces of truffle into oil, traditionally olive, and leaving it to infuse. The truffle flavors will seep into the oil, leaving you with an easier way to add a punch of truffle into a dish. While truffle oil is still an expensive purchase, it’s much cheaper than sourcing and buying fresh truffles. It also has a significantly longer shelf life, allowing you to regularly add truffle to a meal. However, you have to be careful when buying. Some truffle oil doesn’t contain truffles at all, and is instead chemically enhanced to mimic the flavor of truffle. Although it does on the surface taste like truffle, it can’t accurately recreate the same layers of richness as the real thing. With truffle oil, a high price really does indicate quality. Always check the ingredients before purchasing to be sure they contain real truffle. A small bottle may seem expensive, but it does go a long way.
What is truffle salt? (why are truffles so expensive )
Similar in use to truffle oil, truffle salt is coarse salt infused with small flakes of truffle. Truffle has a strong natural aroma, which permeates the salt when the two are sealed together. As with truffle oil, be careful to avoid fake truffle salt. This is made using chemicals to taste similar to truffle, but without the true fragrance. Proper truffle salt comes with flakes of real truffle.
How do you buy truffles?
If you’re interested in purchasing truffles, the first step is to look for harvesting seasons. Truffles taste their best right after harvesting, and they begin to lose flavor quickly. To buy the very best truffles, start looking in December. They’re best purchased from high-quality restaurants or specialty stores. If you are given the opportunity to buy whole truffles, then pick carefully. Truffles are generally sold by the ounce, with the heaviest truffles being the most expensive. If you think you’re getting a bargain by buying a large sized truffle for cheap, then it’s likely been nibbled at by an insect. Carefully inspect any truffle before purchasing. Particularly fresh ones may still have dirt clinging to the crevasses, giving them an inaccurate weight. Most importantly, give the truffle a sniff. It should still have a rich aroma, and smell mouthwatering. Truffle oil and salt are easier to purchase, and available year round. Always seek out quality stores, to ensure you’re getting the real thing. Before purchase, carefully look over the ingredients list. If they don’t contain real truffle, then look elsewhere. why are truffles so expensive
How do you cook truffles?
The best way to use truffle is incredibly simply. This is an ingredient that shines on its own, so everything else needs to be a supporting character. Try fresh truffles on a simple pasta dish, and let the truffles do all the work. If you’ve got your hands on some fresh white truffles, pair them with a basic pasta meal. Just because you’re going for simplicity doesn’t mean you should settle for poor quality with the other ingredients.
Buy, or make, fresh pasta, and toss it in lashings of butter with a splash of cooking water. Add a heavy grating of Parmesan, a light drizzle of truffle oil, and shave some white truffle on top. This allows the truffle to sing, and you can enjoy the rich flavoring. Black truffle is best lightly cooked, so gently heat it alongside a mushroom risotto. The life of a truffle can be prolonged by storing it in rice, and this also imparts some flavor. Put your truffle in with a jar of risotto rice, and when you go to cook the flavoring will be amplified. Alternatively, mince the black truffle and serve it with scrambled eggs. This elevates a basic dish to luxury.
Can you eat truffles raw?
Yes, you can eat truffles raw. In fact, this is the best way to enjoy white truffles. Shave them on at the end of the dish, and the natural heat from the other food is all that’s needed. Even black truffles only need to be gently heated. Too much cooking will destroy the flavoring, so it’s better to play safe.
How do you cook with truffle oil?
As a flavored oil, truffle oil is best used right at the very end of the dish. Add a small amount before serving for a hit of umami goodness.
Truffle oil can work with many types of meal, including pastas, risottos, polenta, steak, eggs, lobster, vegetables such as asparagus, soups, stews, even fries and pizzas. Once you’ve tried it, you’re sure to be looking for new ways to experiment. If it’s your first time eating truffles, look for a high quality oil and start adding it to pasta. This way you can get a feel for the flavoring, without breaking the bank. Otherwise, check for fresh truffle on the menu at a good restaurant. why are truffles so expensive
In terms of nutrition, these mushrooms may offer dietary fiber, as well as protein, phosphorus, iron, and calcium, according to a research report by Amina Hamza et al. There might be no fat and it may have a low level of carbohydrates. Vitamin D may also be found in these mushrooms. However, since such a small amount of these mushrooms are used in most dishes, they are not commonly eaten for their nutritional value or density.
There can be various health benefits associated with eating truffles, including lowering cholesterol and preventing premature aging, among others
While the antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of truffles have been researched, further studies can help to discover the extent of health benefits that these delicious, exotic mushrooms can offer. Also, while truffles might be considered in folklore as an aphrodisiac, there is no scientific evidence for the same.
How to Use?(why are truffles so expensive )
There are many wonderful ways to use truffles, such as the following:
Due to the exorbitant price, however, it is always recommended to use truffles sparingly. The potent flavor is enough to overpower a dish when used in excess.
Frequent Ask Questions On why are truffles so expensive
How much do white truffles cost?
The chart below shows the average retail price (e.g. price the regular consumer can buy them for) for white truffles. Currently, the cheapest white truffles are being sold by Gourmet Food Store for $0.00 per lb while the most expensive truffles are being sold for $0.00 per lb by Urbani.
How much is an Alba truffle worth?
Last year, a set of white Alba truffles weighing just under two pounds sold for over 75,000 euros, or over $85,000. (The starting price of a 2018 Mercedes Benz S-Class sedan is $89,900.)
What determines the price of truffles?
Well the price depends on many factors including global supply of truffles, species of truffles, where in the supply chain you are buying truffles, and how large of a truffle you are looking for. Truffle.farm has compiled the *only* publicly available retail truffle price tracker.
How many truffles did done4ny sell in 2015?
In 2015, an exceptionally good year for white truffles, Giordano says the company sold about 3,000 kilos or 6,614 pounds of white truffles in the U.S. alone. Done4NY has 200 truffle hunters in Italy and France to help supply its 500 restaurant clients around New York City.
How much does a truffle cost?
An example is the Gourmet Foodstore in the USA, currently selling fresh winter truffles from France for up to $1,872.00 p/lb which, equates to a kilogram price in sterling of £2,592.00 (correct as of 29/02/2012). Also for sale at this price with the Fine Food Specialists of London. why are truffles so expensive
Are Chinese black truffles worth buying?
There is nothing wrong with purchasing Chinese black truffles, just be aware that you are not getting a product that is of the same quality as the European variety. The one benefit that chinese black truffles have is that they are cheap, only cost $-0.32 per pound and can therefore be used for bulk cooking and products.
Where are Tasmanian black truffles made?
Our Tasmanian black truffles are produced from the cold soils of Tasmania and are widely acknowledged as ‘Australia’s Best’ the truffles exhibit the sweet, earthy fragrance and savoury characteristics of the finest truffles from the Perigord and Provence departments of Southern France.
What do the different weights of truffles mean?
The different weights indicate the size of the whole truffle as harvested. The bigger the truffle, the more expensive it is, as they are rarer and more valuable. A bigger truffle will allow you to have more gleba (the inner tasty part) and less peridio (the outer shell).
How much do truffles cost?
Black truffles can range anywhere from $250 to $800 a pound whereas white ruffles can even go up to $1,000 a pound. Here are 10 reasons truffles are so expensive.
Do truffles taste bad?
Even though they are edible, some truffles taste awful or have no taste at all. So just because the word “truffle” is there doesn’t mean it’s a delicious product, which is why truffle oil is one of the 13 foods professional chefs like the least. Why are truffles so expensive? Truffles are expensive for a few reasons.
Are truffles really slices?
And slices of truffles are really slices of many different spores. Although truffles all grow the same way, there different truffle species in the world. The most well-known species are winter white, winter black, muscat black, musky black, Chinese black, Himalayan black, summer black, autumn black, and white truffles.
Is truffle oil better than fresh truffles?
While truffle oil is still an expensive purchase, it’s much cheaper than sourcing and buying fresh truffles. It also has a significantly longer shelf life, allowing you to regularly add truffle to a meal. However, you have to be careful when buying.
What do truffles taste like?
Generalizing what truffles taste like is not an easy task, but they do contain the earthiness and musky/meaty/gamy flavor of some popular above ground mushrooms. When describing truffles some would say they taste like they smell: oaky, nutty and earthy, sweet and juicy with stinging savory notes like black olives. why are truffles so expensive
What does truffle taste like?
Generalizing what truffles taste like is not an easy task, but they do contain the earthiness and musky/meaty/gamy flavor of some popular above ground mushrooms. When describing truffles some would say they taste like they smell: oaky, nutty and earthy, sweet and juicy with stinging savory notes like black olives.
Why are truffles so valuable?
What is so special about truffles? Pound for pound, truffle is one of the most expensive foods you can buy. The reason behind such high costs is the scarcity of the produce, truffles are seasonal, extremely difficult to grow and take many years to cultivate. They also have a short shelf life.
How much is a truffle worth?
Prices for fresh truffles can range anywhere from US$5 to US$300 per ounce throughout the year, depending on the type and availability. Truffles are costly because they are highly seasonal and notoriously difficult to grow, requiring very specific habitat – habitats that are currently being affected by climate change. why are truffles so expensive
What is so special about a truffle?
Truffles have always been highly valued for their heady aroma and culinary value, but they weren’t always so rare. Global demand, over-foraging, and environmental factors have created a scarcity that has driven their price through the roof and given truffles a reputation of high class luxury.
How much is a truffle worth?
Prices for fresh truffles can range anywhere from US$5 to US$300 per ounce throughout the year, depending on the type and availability. Truffles are costly because they are highly seasonal and notoriously difficult to grow, requiring very specific habitat – habitats that are currently being affected by climate change.
What are truffles and why are they so valuable?
Truffles are an edible fungus that are considered a delicacy. They will often be served in small amounts at expensive restaurants, where the umami taste enhances a dish. Truffles are small and lumpy, with either a dark skin or lighter coloring.
Can you eat truffles raw?
Truffles should be eaten at the peak of ripeness (unripe truffles are not so flavourful). Black truffles are peeled and can be used raw or lightly cooked, while white truffles are just carefully wiped and cleaned and should never be cooked.why are truffles so expensive